DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored a group of students from Douglass Elementary School in Boulder, Colo. as winners of the 2016 Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. These students demonstrate the initiative, creativity, and applied problem-solving skills needed to tackle environmental problems and find sustainable solutions.
“Today, we are pleased to honor these impressive young leaders, who demonstrate the impact that a few individuals can make to protect our environment,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These students are empowering their peers, educating their communities, and demonstrating the STEM skills.”
The Douglass Elementary students, members of the school’s food waste club, are being recognized for taking steps to raise awareness and reduce food waste at their school. The club includes a group of 1st through 5th graders who educated fellow students and school administrators about food waste and took steps to reduce the amount of food waste produced at the school. Food waste is an environmental problem as it takes up space in landfills and also wastes resources used to produce the food such as water, electricity, plastics, and paper.
Douglass Elementary’s food waste club is among fifteen projects are being recognized this year, from 13 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
Each year the PEYA program honors environmental awareness projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups and youth organizations.
This year’s PEYA winners conducted a wide range of activities, such as:
- developing a biodegradable plastic using local agricultural waste product
- designing an efficient, environmentally friendly mosquito trap using solar power and compost by-product
- saving approximately 2,000 tadpoles to raise adult frogs and toads
- implementing a hydroponics and aquaculture project in a high school
- repurposing over 25,000 books
- creating an environmental news YouTube channel
- organizing recycling programs to benefit disaster victims and underserved community members
- reclaiming and repurposing over 4,000 discarded pencils within their school
- promoting food waste reduction
- creating a small, portable tool to prevent air strikes of migratory birds
- engaging their community in a program to save a threatened bird, the Western Snowy Plover
- testing grey water to encourage water conservation
- promoting bee health
- uniting their schools to address local environmental issues
The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s youth.
For information on environmental education at EPA, visit:
For details on the new PEYA winners, visit: